In this paper we reflect on the relationship between planning and law. We analyse the Dutch interpretation and implementation of the European Union Habitats and Birds Directives by investigating the practices of delineation of protected areas. These directives provide a legislative framework for the designation of protected sites as well as for decision making about social and economic activities that might have negative effects on the conservation objectives. The formal boundaries of the protected area can have legal, political, and economic consequences and are therefore the subject of much debate. Using Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory, we analyse the debates concerning delineation and the potential for planning to reduce tensions and balance interests. It is argued that the irreducible differences between the economic, political, and legal perspectives, in combination with the Dutch path of a legalistic interpretation of EU directives, have produced a situation in which the role of planning is reduced and new forms of planning are hard to implement.
I investigate some aspects of the structure of the production of drawings by developing a practice-based phenomenology articulated around some “drawing problems.” The examples I chose cluster around decision making in drawing from life. I make a case for a propositional, explicit judgment-based action structure that makes it possible to accommodate some typical practices used in addressing drawing problems. I further hint to by-products (e.g. attention modulation) and “surrounding practices” (e.g. communication during the observation of a drawing activity) that find a plausible explanation in the propositional account of drawing.
Perception and perceptual decision-making are strongly facilitated by prior knowledge about the probabilistic structure of the world. While the computational benefits of using prior expectation in perception are clear, there are myriad ways in which this computation can be realized. We review here recent advances in our understanding of the neural sources and targets of expectations in perception. Furthermore, we discuss Bayesian theories of perception that prescribe how an agent should integrate prior knowledge and sensory information, and investigate how current and future empirical data can inform and constrain computational frameworks that implement such probabilistic integration in perception.
De Vecchis F. (1993) Power, the epistemology of social systems, and autopoiesis: A discussion of Lucio Castellano’s “Il Potere degli Altri”. International Review of Sociology 4: 37–75. https://cepa.info/7891
Excerpt: I am pleased for the occasion afforded me by Revue Internationale de Sociologie to formulate a few thoughts of mine on Lucio Castellano’s book, Il Potere degli Altri (The Power of Others) indeed, this provides me with the opportunity of committing to writing a few points deriving from the informal discussions in which I have had the pleasure to take part with its author over the past few years in the room we share at the Faculty of Statistics at Rome’s “La Sapienza” University. What follows is not meant to be a review of the above book, but deals exclusively with the clarifying of the terms of a question which I posed myself over the course of the long journey on which the text conducts us, linking politological themes (sovereignty, democracy, government of the res publica, decision-making power, obedience to the laws of the State, equal rights, juridical-procedural rules etc) with issues concerning the “theory of society- (the formation of societal identity, societies’ environment, the nature of social norms, common sense, institutionalization, the measurement of strength relationships, symbolic representation, emancipation from the constraints of domination etc) and the philosophy of science (truth, contradiction, natural language, scientific theory, paradigm, objective || construct, formal universe, Wertsfreiheit, symbolic generalization etc). My question is: is it acceptable, given the present state of the social sciences, to make epistemology directly or indirectly dependent on forms of political decisionism? The book’s answer to this question is affirmative.
Fischer T. (2017) A cybernetic perspective on determinability and design research. Kybernetes 46(9): 1588–1596. https://cepa.info/5178
Purpose: The scientific criterion of determinability (predictability) can be framed in realist or in constructivist terms. This can pose a challenge to design researchers who operate between scientific research (which favors a realist view of determinism/indeterminism) and design practice (which favors a constructivist view of determinability/indeterminability). This paper aims to develop a framework to navigate this challenge. Design/methodology/approach – A critical approach to “scientific” design research is developed by examining the notion of (in)determinism, with particular attention to the observer-based projection of systemic boundaries, and the constructivist understanding of how such boundaries are constituted. This is illustrated using automata theory. A decision-making framework is then developed based on a diagram known as the epistemological triangle. Findings: The navigation between determinism as a property of the observed, and determinability as a property of the observer follows the navigation between realist and constructivist perspectives, and thus has a bearing on the navigation of the kinds of design research distinguished by Frayling, and their implied primary evaluation criteria. Research limitations/implications – The presented argument advocates a constructivist view, which, however, is not meant to imply a rejection of, but rather, an additional degree of freedom extending the realist view. Originality/value – This discussion contributes to the establishment of observational determinability as observer-dependent. The proposed framework connects the navigation between deterministic observables and determining observers to the navigation between the design criteria form, meaning and utility. This may be of value within and beyond design research.
Fosnot C. T. (1984) Media and technology in education: A constructivist view. Educational Communication and Technology Journal 32: 195–205. https://cepa.info/6737
Instructional technology has typically been viewed as incorporating a systematic application of scientific principles of instruction to the learning environment. Within this framework, the focus has been on analysis, decision making, and evaluation regarding curriculum (what should be taught) and instruction (how one should teach). For most of its history, instructional technology has attempted to justify and verify its own basic assumption that both the processes of technology and the products of technology can help improve instructional effectiveness (Brody, 1984). Thus, an instructional design model (i.e., the systems approach to instruction) has predominated the field (Koetting, 1984). This article argues that, in spite of interest and aptitude, instructional designers have not yet come to grips with the tenets of constructivism. Rather, the field has been grounded in empiricism. An historical review of the research on instructional uses of media highlights such philosophical roots
Fosnot C. T. & Perry R. S. (2005) Constructivism: A psychological theory of learning. In: Fosnot C. (ed.) Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice. Teachers College Press, New York and London: 8–38. https://cepa.info/4762
Psychology – the way learning is defined, studied, and understood – underlies much of the curricular and instructional decision-making that occurs in education. Constructivism, perhaps the most current psychology oflearning, is no exception. Initially based on the work ofJean Piaget and LevVygotsky, and then supported and extended by contemporary biologists andcognitive scientists as they studied complexity and emergence, it is having major ramifications on the goals that teachers set for the learners with whomthey work, the instructional strategies teachers employ in working towardthese goals, and the methods of assessment used by school personnel to document genuine learning. What is this theory of learning and develop-ment that is the basis of the current reform movement and how is it different from other models of psychology?
Goldstein B. (2021) Materialism and Selection Bias: Political Psychology from a Radical Constructivist Perspective. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 327–338. https://cepa.info/7172
Context: Political psychology rests on the assumption of the existence of a world outside and independent of consciousness. This ontological materialism is hardly spoken of within the field, as it is an unchallenged assumption among most psychologists and social scientists, including political scientists. However, the materialist paradigm frames research designs, the interpretation of data and theory building. Also, there is a bias towards psychological universals - the claim that all individual and group psychologies are equal (as compared to cultural psychology, which is critical about universalist claims), which can be understood as a consequence of the discipline’s hidden ontological core assumption. Problem: The purpose of this article is to show how the choice of a certain approach to answer a research question rests on the deeply ingrained beliefs of researchers. These beliefs are usually not part of research presentations even though they have tremendous influence on the results of the whole research process. Recipients use these necessarily biased research results as building blocks for the construction of their own realities. Method: The article is an ex-post interpretative summary of my considerations during the designing period of an earlier study in which I researched, from the perspective of political psychology, on what grounds South Indian politicians have positive, negative and ambiguous attitudes towards the “West.” Using this research project as an example, this article is a critical discussion and analysis of the ideological backdrop of political psychology, in particular the belief in a materialist ontology. Results: I argue that, instead of coming closer to any kind of an “objective” understanding of political attitudes, in political psychology we cannot help but invent new stories about the (political) world as long as our beliefs consciously or unconsciously influence our decision making in theorizing and research practice. Implications: The discussion shows exemplarily how in political psychology a researcher’s basic assumption that a physical world outside of consciousness exists determines methodology and justifies a particular set of interpretations. The unproblematized physicalist paradigm makes a researcher in political psychology necessarily a biased researcher. Constructivist content: The article is a description of how a researcher’s subjective perception and construction of the (social) world has consequences for the complete research process. Political psychology is based on the highly problematic assumption of an ontic world that exists independently of a subjective observer. It can serve as a telling example of how the preoccupation with a physicalist world explanation can lead to methodological and interpretative biases.
Excerpt: E is the letter, if not the word, in todays sciences of the mind. E-approaches to the mind – those that focus on embodied, enactive, extended, embedded, and ecological aspects of mind – are now a staple and familiar feature of the cognitive science landscape. Many productive scientific research programs are trying to understand the significance of E-factors for the full range of cognitive phenomena, with new proposals about perceiving, imagining, remembering, decision-making, reasoning, and language appearing apace (Wilson and Foglia 2016). Some hold that these developments mark the arrival of a new paradigm for thinking about mind and cognition, one radically different from cognitive science as we know it (e.g., Thompson 2007; Chemero 2009; Di Paolo 2009; Bruineberg and Rietveld 2014). Others maintain that accommodating E-factors, while important, requires either only very modest twists or, at most, some crucial but still limited revisions to the framework of otherwise business-as-usual cognitive science (Goldman 2012, 2014; Gallese 2014; Clark 2008; Wheeler 2010). By conservative lights, radicals vastly exaggerate the theoretical significance of the so-called E-turn. Moderates hold that whatever changes are required will fall short of reconceiving cognition. Who is right? Are we, in fact, witnessing a revolution in thinking about thinking? ||
Knudsen M. (2007) Structural Couplings Between Organizations and Function Systems: Looking at Standards in Health Care. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 14(2–3): 111–131. https://cepa.info/3432
The paper is concerned with the relationship between organization and society. It reinterprets Luhmann’s conceptualization of the relation between decision-making organizational systems and code-based function systems in order to enable the theory to observe (historical and current) changes. The relations between organizations and function systems are described in terms of structural couplings and the couplings are set in relation to the deparadoxizations of organizations. The thesis of the paper is that the organization makes itself irritable to function systems through its deparadoxization strategies. This idea is first treated theoretically and then the paper demonstrates its productivity through an analysis of how standards in health care form structural couplings between decisions in health care organizations and function systems as they deparadoxify decisions. The analysis shows how the health care organizations seem to become irritable (and thus coupled) towards a plurality of function systems when they deparadoxify their decisions by means of standards.